Oshawa fire is launching a new way of locating calls, a first of its kind in Canada.
Fire Chief Derrick Clark says ‘what3words’ will help dispatch emergency help exactly where it is needed and cut down on call times.
“We’ve had situations even in Oshawa for example at the Harmony Valley dog park and people still use that in the winter… we’ve had people slip and fall on the ice and have injuries and we’ve assisted the Region of Durham Paramedics in finding these people and we’ve looked 15, 20, 25, 30 minutes for these people because we have no idea where they are,” said Clark. “What this app now allows us to do is when someone phones in and says ‘I’ve fallen, I’m in the dog park, I don’t know exactly where I am,’ we’ll send them a link with what3words, they’ll read back the three words and we’ll know exactly in the park where they are and we can go right to them.”
The new location technology divides the world into a grid of three metre by three metre squares and assigns each area with a unique three-word identifier.
For example, the bridge in the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens is identified as ‘twin, medium, pebbles.’
Clark says the new technology isn’t just to help them in parks and other rural areas of the city, but could also help response times on the highway.
“We have a lot of visitors to the City of Oshawa, we have a lot of people driving across the 407 and the 401 and sometimes people will report and accident and they’re not from this area and we don’t know exactly where it is,” Clark explained. “As you know with the 401 and 407 if you miss the on ramp to a specific section you have to go all the way to the next one, turn around and come back. So we can now pinpoint exactly where people are.”
Oshawa is the first fire service in Canada to use the new location technology.
“Oshawa Fire Services is a provincial leader in fire safety and training and our city is excited to have the first fire service in Canada using this technology,” said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter. “We’re proud to offer this innovative and groundbreaking service to our community.”
Clark says they will also be able use the app to help dispatch services in Whitby and Clarington as well.
You can download the ‘what3words’ app to your mobile phone or find the online map here.